Daily Reflections From My Window

September 20, 2021 Monday: Time to Buckle Down and Get to Work

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“Serenity, regularity, absence of vanity,Sincerity, simplicity, veracity, equanimity, Fixity, non-irritability, adaptability, Humility, tenacity, integrity, nobility, magnanimity, charity, generosity, purity. Practise daily these eighteen “ities” You will soon attain immortality.”

Socrates

***POST UPDATE: I had to remove every link and video to TRY to get this to post. It’s been over 2 hours.

I need to work on every one of these “ities”, not to gain immortality, but to be a better person. I have to look up Fixity. That’s new to me.

This weekend was the annual Stahlstown Flax Scutching Festival and I went both days. I went on Saturday with Jay and his cousin Mary and then on Sunday I went after church by myself to pick up a few things I had seen for gifts the day before. It’s the oldest Flax Festival in the country now. It used to be the second oldest behind one in Ohio (I think?), and I only discovered it when I moved here 31 years ago and started to use Route 711 more regularly. Since then, I have been trying to volunteer, but was shooed away. I think they thought I was a creepy linen stalker. This year, I finally got to speak with the organizer herself thanks to this volunteer, below, Shelly. She was taking our pancake orders and asked me if we’d been here before and I joked that I have been trying to volunteer forever because it’s my favorite festival but they never call me! She made sure that I met the boss, who has worked tirelessly to keep this Festival going. It’s a real oddity though. It started as a family reunion where they’d gather to process the flax plants into linen fabric and then evolved to invite the public to see what flax scutching WAS all about. They have demonstrations frequently throughout the weekend showing the process, but don’t sell anything made from the linen they grow at all. At the end of each festival, they pack up the equipment and close the door on it for another year. Spinning wheels, loom, breaker, heckles, the works. Reminds me of how perplexed I was when I discovered that alpaca people didn’t use their fiber for anything and bought products from South America to sell. It just sat in their barns while they sold the animals for breeding.

This man told me that he has been doing this festival his whole life. He knows a thing or two! The focus of this festival seems to be on buckwheat pancakes, (you can buy those mixes and flours), apple cider, and tractors.

Linen is such a great fabric. I left them my number and contact information. I was looking for some to spin. No luck. I want to try spinning it with alpaca and see what happens. I grabbed Mary, and she gave me a spinning demo aside from the main demonstration. My video won’t play so here’s a screenshot. I’ll keep trying!

I discovered my buddy Toni Ritchey-Ridella and her group from her shop Raggz Fiber Art. They were demonstrating spinning by wheel, Navajo Plying and more. She’s having an event in October and if you are interested it’s called Raggz Fiber Affair and if you like fiber, be there. I’ll be at a wedding and can’t make it this year. It’s a lovely event. Notice how Toni (on the left with the dark hair, is dressed completely in linen?

I love how once you start spinning, people gather round. Young and old. Lots to learn and see. Spinning and the textile arts touch a lot of what we now refer to as STEM. Look how interested these kids in the photo above are. It’s also a great stress reliever (unless you are doing it for a client!). I forgot to mention that I had on my Sierra Tank dress both days-once with linen pants and one day with cotton pants. I had it tied on the side like a top. I don’t think I took a picture. I love this man’s shirt! I told him so and said that I didn’t remember him wearing it yesterday. He said,” I can’t wear the same shirt two days in a row!”, to which I replied, “You could if it was wool!”. Yes, today will be day 87 for my wool dress. Still looks like the day I got it.

If you are interested, I have more photos and videos of the whole Flax Scutching process and festival on our Laurel Highlands Alpacas FB Page. I’ll be adding more too.

On my way home, I stopped in Ligonier to visit my friend Peggy at a shop she works at on the weekends. Called “A Victorian Manor”, it’s on East Main Street, and is a real curiosity shop. There is everything you can imagine there from clothing, to plants, to jewelry, to antiques and more. I didn’t know where to look! I’ll have to go back and spend more time. So many interesting things.

The day wasn’t over yet. Home I went and Jay and Connor were hanging out and doing work. Connor was happy that he found his bone and Jay was moving mulch. I still had alpacas to tend!

Luckily we had leftovers and the kids were able to join us for dinner. We’ve all been so busy that this was a real treat! We even ate outside on the patio.Today I have a lot to do. Besides getting my stock ready for Fort Ligonier Days, I have a doc appointment this afternoon and a meeting this evening.

But what about that moon last night?I wanted to share 2 more things. I go to the 10 AM service at St. Michael’s of the Valley Episcopal Church in Rector. The sermon was about humility. The first reading was Proverbs 31. Read it if you have a chance. I was surprised that at the 10:00 am service, he didn’t link the two to the Flax Scutching weekend in the sermon. Seems like the likelihood of this reading and the local festival coming up simultaneously would be rare, but maybe it happens more than I know. The 8 AM service is available on the churches website and FB page if you’d like to hear it. If nothing else, you’ll feel better that the disciples are always messing up too! They could work in their “ities” a little more.

It’s another busy day for the alpacas!

As usual, I’ll be working on my website. What would make it better for you? What changes would you like to see? What would make you subscribe? Please share!

In the meantime, remember to wash your hands, don’t touch your face, get outside for some fresh air and keep the length of an alpaca cria (which is a baby alpaca and about 3 feet long) between you and the next person.

Have a blessed day!